Ella Fontanals-Cisneros began collecting art in the early 1970s, with a primary interest in works from Latin America. Over the ensuing years, as the collection has developed and grown, its scope has broadened. What started as the acquisition of artworks for personal enjoyment has matured into an ambitious life-project.
Although the entire collection is never on view to the public at once, CIFO organizes a series of exhibitions from the collection on a yearly basis. These Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection are curated by different guest curators for CIFO and are meant to show the breadth of the collection but also to initiate a dialogue about specific aspects of these works within a broader context.
The Collection includes a substantial holding and constantly evolving group video and new media works by both pioneers and newer artists in this burgeoning field. Among them Marina Abramovic, Chantal Akerman, Kutlug Ataman, Candice Breitz, William Kentridge, Ana Mendieta, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Julian Rosefeldt, Melanie Smith, Jennifer Steinkamp, Fiona Tan, Francesca Woodman, Song Dong and Bill Viola.
Photography is an important area of the Ella Fontanals Cisneros Collection that has been developing rapidly. Within the field of contemporary photography, the collection’s principal concentration was upon the relationships among architecture, landscape, and urban space, and how those connections create a dynamic and complex dialogue in contemporary culture featuring works by Bernd & Hilla Becher, Olafur Eliasson, Leandro Erlich, Carlos Garaicoa, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Sze Tsung Leong, Ryuji Miyamoto, Vik Muniz, Shirin Neshat, Damian Ortega, Caio Reisewitz, Ed Ruscha, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Frank Thiel, and Wang Qingsong.
In more recent years, Collection has expanded significantly to include numerous works by Modernist photographers from Latin America such as Germán Lorca, Grete Stern, Geraldo de Barros and José Yalenti, Paulo Pires and Leo Matiz, among others.
The Collection includes works by Lucio Fontana, Barbara Hepworth, Roberto Matta, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Maria Freire, and other artists whose work presaged and contextualized the geometric-abstractionism movement. Their work provides the context for one of the collection's central focus: international geometric abstraction and geometric abstraction from Latin America. This important area of the collection features pieces by Lygia Clark, Waldemar Cordeiro, Jose Pedro Costigliolo, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Manuel Espinosa, Gego, Mathias Goeritz, Carmen Herrera, Alfredo Hlito, Raúl Lozza, Ana Maria Maiolino, Juan Mele, Helio Oiticica, Alejandro Otero, Lygia Pape, Lidy Prati, Mira Schendel, and Jesus Soto, among many others.
The collection also includes a growing body of international contemporary art, with works by artists such as Francys Alys, Sophie Calle, Mark Dion, Tracy Emin, Thomas Hirschorn, Jenny Holzer, Anish Kapoor, Subdoh Gupta, William Kentridge, Vik Muniz, Gabriel Orozco, Ernesto Neto, Guillermo Kuitca and Shirin Neshat.